A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 5: Training for Endurance 115 1. Determine where you plan on running. There are three basic types of running shoes: roadrunning, trail-running and cross-training shoes. Road-running shoes are designed for runs on pavement, sidewalks, treadmills and tracks. Trail-running shoes are designed for off-road runs that may include the presence of rocks, mud, roots and/or other obstacles. Cross-training shoes are designed for strength training, cross-training and/or other activities where thinner sole shoes are preferred. 2. Determine the desired level of cushioning. The degree of cushioning provided by shoes is determined by two factors: foam firmness and sole thickness. The extent of firmness and thickness is a matter of personal preference. There are five major types of shoe cushioning: maximum cushion, moderate cushion, minimal cushion, barefoot and zero-drop. a. Maximum cushion shoes offer the thickest and softest foam and may be best suited for runners participating in long distance or multi-day runs. b. Moderate cushion shoes offer a degree of cushioning between that of maximum and minimal cushion shoes. c. Minimal cushion shoes offer a minimal amount of cushioning and may be best suited for runners who prefer the ability to feel the ground under them. d. Barefoot shoes offer no or minimal cushion and provide a very thin layer (e.g., 3-4 mm) of material between foot and ground. It is important to note that barefoot shoes provide no arch support or stability features. e. Zero-drop shoes provide an equal amount of cushioning from the heel to the toes. Conversely, traditional running shoes typically have more cushioning under the heel and less under the midfoot and toes - which results in the heel striking the ground first when running. Zero-drop shoes, on the other hand, have the same amount of cushioning throughout the sole - which results in the midfoot striking the ground first when running. It is important to note that zero-drop shoes place greater stress on the Achilles tendon, as compared to traditional running shoes, and therefore may require an adjustment period. Figure 5.4 depicts the differences between a traditional running shoe and a zero-drop running shoe.